We are always looking for creative ways to communicate evaluation findings, especially when it can make our work more accessible to those who participated.
That’s why for a recent project, we used a podcast to share some of what emerged in the evaluation.
As part of the sharing phase for our evaluation of a community-based rural inclusion initiative, we led the development of a podcast called “Nebraska Together.” Podcast producers (shout-outs to Cally Carswell and Ariana Brocious!) supported this effort, consulting with us on the storylines and scriptwriting. While we typically deliver products of an evaluation directly to the client, with a podcast accessible on a popular platform like Spotify we can share findings more broadly. This can drum up support and motivation for this important work. The podcast had three episodes:
- Benefits and challenges of living in diverse communities
- Overcoming challenges and making more inclusive communities
- What’s next for inclusion?
IG Consultants Claire Stoscheck and Isabel Marsh narrate each episode, describing what we learned from evaluating community-based rural inclusion efforts in Nebraska. Evaluation participants contribute throughout with quotes from our recorded interviews with them. The podcast covers what we learned in our evaluation about the benefits and challenges of living in a diverse community and illuminates some of the everyday discrimination people of color in rural communities experience. In their own voices, participants also share what inclusion means to them, from “people interacting and frequenting each other’s businesses” to “women of color in positions of leadership in our organizations and our businesses and our local government.”
How did we do it?
By planning for a podcast at the beginning of this multi-year evaluation, we laid the groundwork for a set of high-quality, engaging episodes. We designed interviews to prompt participants to tell stories. We also sought out good storytellers in the Nebraskan communities. We then used recording technology for these interviews that allowed us to pull high-quality recordings right into the podcasts.
We also learned a few things along the way.
For one, this podcast was just one way we shared findings; it was important that we also developed multiple written reports for our client. By comprehensively explaining our findings in those reports, we had the flexibility to use “Nebraska Together” to reflect more generally on rural inclusion efforts. In turn, this created a way to disseminate certain findings that might be meaningful to groups beyond those directly involved in this project.
We also learned there are varying approaches—and different costs—to producing a podcast, depending on what you want to include.
Finally, listening to the podcast reminds us of just how powerful multimedia communication can be. With a recording, you can hear from evaluation participants relatively unfiltered, in their own words and voices. Especially when talking about diversity and inclusion, this is a powerful way to uplift voices of different community members.